Since moving from our one-bedroom Silver Lake apartment to a small Mount Washington home, increased water and energy use has been a concern. So much so I recently dreamt I had left a hose on in the garden, the idea of water being wasted worthy of my subconscious to burden my sleep with sweaty brow panic. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken upon myself to try to keep the surrounding trees alive with a watering stake to directly reach the roots, but every time I turn on the tap I think of the drought and the luxury of clean water on demand, any use connected with a pang of guilt.
Our first water and power bill arrived recently and I was relieved to be informed by Emily that our total use is actually far below the average. In fact, if these figures are correct, we’re only using about 1/4 the average of the typical LA resident. It’s a welcome surprise discovering a small house can be comparatively efficient to an apartment, but those figures underlines our city as a whole has a long way to go in regards to water/energy efficiency (for those seeking some help about recommendations for reducing water use, check out the Home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator)
It helps our place is small, there’s no lawn, we cool the home with natural circulation and ceiling fans instead of AC, I’ve been switching all of our lighting to LED, and we’ve been trying to reuse greywater for the garden as much as possible (bucket by bucket in some instances). Our big project for the next few months – years – will be to convert the front and backyard into a drought tolerant landscape, one which also invites pollinators and stabilizes the surrounding hills from soil erosion. In comparison being water efficient inside seems much simpler than changes and work required outside.
And yet we’re living comfortably, underlining conservation doesn’t mean a life of wanting. It seems all of those “if its yellow, be mellow” and “shower every other day” practices have merit.